A NEW cafe to support young people will be opening in Botley thanks to council grant funding.

Branches was awarded a grant of almost £7,000 from Vale of White Horse District Council to bring the service to the West Way shopping centre.

The social enterprise group will use the new homes bonus grant funding to transform one of the empty units at West Way for 18 months to kick start their new enterprise.

The café will be open to the whole community during the day and will focus on meeting the needs of young people after school and in the evenings.

The grant funding will go towards new equipment and initial staff costs for the coffee shop whilst phase one of the shopping centre undergoes redevelopment.

The café’s focus will be to provide a safe and fun place for young people to socialise and take part in workshops and positive activities.

There will be opportunities for secondary school children and young adults to be involved in running the business.

The new venture will benefit local families and friends with a new place to meet up, help young people aged 12 to 18 and will help Branches raise funds for their youth work and projects in the Botley area.

Cabinet member for community services at Vale of White Horse District Council Charlotte Dickson, said: “This is a fantastic example of a social enterprise supporting its local community.

"There’s a lot of exciting change about to happen in Botley, and I am very sure the café will become an integral part of the area whilst the new shopping centre is being built.”

Director of Branches, Dave Goodspeed, added: “Our vision is of a thriving café, serving the community with young people at its heart.

"We want to offer a safe and nurturing place for young people to socialise and learn skills.”

The first phase of the West Way development is set to begin on June 25 and is expected to take around two and a half years.

A number of retailers and services including the Branches Cafe, the Baptist church, Tesco and Co-op will be housed in temporary units while the new shopping precinct is under construction.

Developer Mace intends to turn the 1960 shopping arcade into a new community hub with flats, shops and a hotel.

Branches café is currently looking for volunteers to help support the local enterprise.

For more information email diane@branchesyouth.uk.

Branches Young People’s Support Service is also supported by Oxfordshire County Council, Soha, North Hinksey Parish Council, Doris Field Trust, The Sprout, North Hinksey Junior Youth Club and local donors.

It is is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means any profits must be put back into the company to allow it to develop and further benefit the community it serves.